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Pain. 2001 Aug;93(2):191-6.

Gabapentin inhibits the substance P-facilitated K(+)-evoked release of [(3)H]glutamate from rat caudial trigeminal nucleus slices.

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Pfizer Global Research & Development, Cambridge Laboratories, Cambridge University Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2QB, UK.


The effect of gabapentin on the release of the spinal sensory neurotransmitter glutamate has been investigated in an in vitro model using a perfused thin slice preparation from the rat brainstem containing the spinal trigeminal caudal subnucleus (Sp5C) and pre-incubated with [(3)H]glutamate. Addition of excess K(+) to the perfusing solution increased the content of tritium in the perfusate. The prior addition of substance P increased this index of glutamate release in a concentration-dependent manner, with the mean maximum of around 50% increase obtained at 1-3 microM. The action of substance P to increase the evoked release of glutamate was blocked by the antagonist CP-99994, suggesting a specific involvement of the NK(1) receptor in mediating the facilitatory effect. On its own, gabapentin at up to 100 microM did not modify the baseline level of K(+)-evoked release of glutamate; however, gabapentin caused a concentration-dependent decrease of the facilitatory effect of substance P (EC(50)=6.49 microM). The R-(-)- and S-(+)-isomers of 3-isobutylgaba were then tested against the increase in K(+)-evoked release of glutamate by substance P. S-(+)-3-isobutylgaba (pregabalin) at 30 microM acted like gabapentin to reduce the substance P-mediated increase of release almost to the baseline level of K(+)-evoked release, while in contrast the R-(-)-isomer at this concentration produced no reduction, and rather a trend towards a further enhancement of the potentiating effect of substance P. In conclusion, we have found and characterized an effect of gabapentin that is of possible mechanistic relevance to the anti-hyperalgesic/allodynic actions of this compound.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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